The State of the Atmosphere for Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Front Range has certainly gotten a taste of winter once again over the past couple days. Many areas saw 3 to 6" of snow (with some spots, especially around Boulder, seeing up to 9") on Saturday along with temperatures that were some 40 degrees colder than Friday.

Very cold temperatures and scattered snow showers on Sunday did not do anything to dispel the wintry feel; in fact, it only made it up to 12°F for a high at DIA. Of course, as we've indicated much of this week at Weather5280, the Arctic air mass delivering record-breaking temperatures over much of the middle of the country is only delivering Colorado a glancing blow. In other words, it could be much worse!

Moderating Temperatures
The relatively good news is that on Monday temperatures will be at least 20° warmer than those we experienced on Sunday -- and many locations may make it just above freezing. This minor warmth will mark the beginning of a moderation in temperatures that will hold for much of the work week.

Unlike some previous warm-ups we've seen after cold blasts so far this winter, temperatures will moderate only to near or just slightly-above average levels for the week, so no shorts-and-tee-shirt days are in sight. High temperatures Tuesday through Saturday will generally be in the mid-to-upper 40s, with plenty of sunshine, though. Expect overnight lows most nights to be somewhere in the 20s. So while much of the nation to our east is in store for a severely cold week, temperatures will be pretty close to seasonal normals for us.

Outlook
After relatively benign and largely dry weather this week, what might the second full week January have in store for us across Colorado? Truthfully, there are few indicators of either pronounced cold or pronounced warmth for us in the 7 to 14 day period. Our next chance for precipitation (at least for the Denver metro area) is probably not until next Monday, when some (though not all) models try to push a cold front through the region. At this point the front looks neither particularly strong nor too moisture-laden, so those hoping for another accumulating snow event during this period may have to do some serious snow-dancing!

Based on current modeling, our best guess is that comparatively dry weather (the aforementioned possible weak cold front notwithstanding), with temperatures at or somewhat above seasonal averages, will likely be in store through the end of the second week of the month. If anything, the threat is that sustained above-normal temperatures may re-develop by mid month. But it's a little too early to know with much confidence whether or not this scenario will actually come to fruition.

Josh Larson

Josh Larson worked at the Climate Prediction Center as a climate analyst and at the NWS in Maryland. He wrote for, and co-produced the WP’s Capital Weather Gang from 2003 to 2010. @coloradowx.

Denver, CO
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